No need to keep rubbing your eyes to check that the title of this blog is 'Rugby', because it is, indeed. I'm writing a post about rugby. Me, Shiny, of the not-so-sure about the fun factor of watching a bunch of neckless brutes chasing a ball that's not really a ball up and down a field while engaging in blatant man-loving, in public. (I have nothing against man-loving at all, I just find the denialism in the rugby sphere particularly funny.)
Yip, I have some things to say, after going to watch The Big Match (Super 14 - it's a big thing here on the tip of Africa). There is always a Big Match I have discovered. Two weeks ago was one too, and now, apparently, there's another next week. Personally I think it's a conspiracy to get the likes of me interested. My rugby-loving friends need not use this ploy on me however - I don't need to be persuaded by the Bigness of the matches... just promise me beer, and I'll be there. I'm a sucker for spirit (spirit, not spirits... although I may be persuaded to have those too. What's a rugby match without a Klippies and coke?)
Anyway, on Saturday night, H and I reminisced on our varsity days by parking the car down by the sea and drinking a cider each while watching the sun set. Being more responsible than those errant varsity days we just had one (and knowing, now, that we are not, in fact, immortal.) We watched as a child bride and her child husband had photos taken on the beach, in front of the seaweed, and then in the dusty carpark with our beautiful new stadium (all World Cup-ready) in the background. Wouldn't be my choice of bridal background but it's good to see such keen spirit! Vaguely surreal really.
Then we went off to meet H's man, M, who had patriotically been sitting at Very Old Pub since 11am to secure a spot for the 5pm and then 7pm matches. We arrived, very fashionably, at 7:20pm. I don't know why everybody clucked at us, as we made them move out of our way to get to said spot, mid-first-half. The place was heaving, friendly, spirited, and full of testosterone.
The first 'conversation' I got to have was with short-legged blue t-shirt guy. As we went past him, he patted the spot next to him and said:
"Come sit here next to me. I'll get you drunk."
Tempting offer, but thank you I'll be just fine over here with my friends and, luckily, if I so wish, I am quite capable of getting drunk. All by myself. He spent the rest of the evening short-leggeding over and cheersing my glass. Harmless really, and I had to give him points for being friendly.
We wedged ourselves into our little corner. This entailed H squishing up next to M (not a problem considering they're 3 months into a relationship and are all doe-eyed and stuff), me squished next to them, and the next table squished next to me. The bench consisted of short-legged blue-stripe t-shirt boy, very gay Sommelier, Big Brute Guy and English Guy, all in very close proximity to each other, and me. It was close enough that I could almost feel English Guy's breath in my ear. Luckily only almost, though, otherwise I would probably have objected and been, well, beligerent.
I watched the row of boys and decided in my head who was who, who was with who, and who wanted to be with who, but wasn't (of course, while concentrating closely on the rugby.) Blue-stripe t-shirt boy was definitely the target of The Sommelier's affections who seemed to be snuggled up to by The Brute, who, surprisingly, seemed to be married to the English Guy. A fabulous menagerie of man love, perfect for my head to create stories about (again, while concentrating closely on the rugby.)
Anyway, as is the nature of me, by the end of the match (we won!) I had established the full story after becoming best friends with The English Guy (happily single, and straight. Unusual for me to be wrong on these things. Not, in fact, English but more Irish, though has been living here in the south for 16 years) and The Brute (married to a sweet blonde girl at the end of the table.) That left The Sommelier who is, indeed, a lovely gay boy, showering his affections on blue-striped t-shirt boy, of the short-leggedness and bad pick-up lines. I didn't stay to see how that story ended, but I fear it didn't entail them walking hand-in-hand into the sunset. You never know, though.
Now that's what I call a good rugby match, don't you agree?